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Democratic attorneys general urge end to border separations

21 June 2018
Democratic attorneys general urge end to border separations

The president had not yet signed the order, but said he would before leaving on a trip to Minnesota Wednesday afternoon.

The Trump administration has triggered bipartisan backlash by implementing a zero-tolerance policy toward illegal border crossings, charging all individuals who cross the border illegally with unlawful entry.

Trump signing an executive order to stop the practice of separating families would cap off a week of chaotic messaging from the White House. "Separating - especially very small children from their parents at the border is not something we should do".

A chorus of critics - rights groups, Christian evangelicals, former United States first ladies and some within the president's own Republican party - are demanding an immediate end to the family separations. "Go for it! WIN!"

House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters that one of the bills would increase funding to the Department of Homeland Security to source housing and care for families during criminal proceedings against parents.

"Well, it's a real exaggeration, of course", the Department of Justice chief said in Monday night's interview.

The executive order states that immigrant families will be detained together, except in cases where there are concerns about the child's welfare, but it is unclear for how long.

Trump had tweeted earlier Wednesday, "It's the Democrats fault, they won't give us the votes needed to pass good immigration legislation".

Videos of youngsters in cages and an audiotape of wailing children have sparked anger at home from groups ranging from clergy to influential business leaders, as well as condemnation from overseas.

"We're going to keep families together but we still have to maintain toughness or our country will be overrun by people, by crime, by all of the things that we don't stand for and that we don't want", Trump said.

A young girl rests on her mother's shoulder as they wait in line to enter the San Francisco office of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Wednesday in San Francisco.

Katharina Obser, a senior policy adviser at the Women's Refugee Commission, said the order could result in expanded detention for immigrant families.

Homeland Security is not required to keep a family together, under the order, if it's believed the parent poses a risk to the child's welfare.

But Republicans said they were uncertain if either measure would have enough support to be approved. "Republicans want security. But I am working on something - it never ends!"

The policy stemmed from the zero-tolerance prosecution of illegal immigrants, put in place some months ago by the U.S. Attorney General, Jeff Sessions.